Each year outstanding young
musicians with disabilities from around the world receive the VSA International
Young Soloists Award, $2,000, and the opportunity to perform at the John F.
Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., which is live-streamed
and archived on the Kennedy Center website. This program is open to soloists
and ensembles of any instrument or genre including classical, jazz, hip-hop,
rock, and more! Started by Ambassador Jean Kennedy Smith in 1984, the program has
provided opportunities for hundreds of emerging young musicians with
Applications for the 2018 VSA
International Young Soloists Competition will be accepted online. For more
information on the competition and for the online application, visit http://www.kennedy-center.org/IYS. The application deadline is Wednesday, February 7, 2018
at 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time.
To be eligible to enter the VSA
International Young Soloists Competition you must meet all four of the
1. Be a
musician with a disability. As defined by the Americans with Disabilities
Amendments Act, a disability is a physical or mental impairment that
substantially limits one or more major life activity. Major life activities
include, but are not limited to, caring for oneself, performing manual tasks,
seeing, hearing, eating, sleeping, walking, standing, lifting, bending,
speaking, breathing, learning, reading, concentrating, thinking, and
communicating; additionally major life activities include the operation of a
major bodily function, including but not limited to, functions of the immune
system, normal cell growth, digestive, bowel, bladder, neurological, brain,
respiratory, circulatory, endocrine, and reproductive functions.
2. Be age
14-25. Applicants must not be younger than 14 or older than 25 at the time
of the application deadline (February 7, 2018). All members of an ensemble must
meet the age requirement in order to be eligible.
3. Have never
won the VSA International Young Soloists Competition. Applicants are
welcome to apply every year until they win or age out of the competition.
4. Be present
for the VSA International Young Soloists Events and Performance on May 30, 2018
at 6 p.m. in Washington, D.C. If selected, winners must be present to
accept the award.
If selected as a winner, applicants
are required to provide proof of age and disability, and must be willing to
publicly disclose that they have a disability for all materials and public
appearances associated with the VSA International Young Soloist competition.
The VSA International Young Soloists
Competition is open to:
Soloists (instrumental or vocal)
· Ensembles* (instrumental or
vocal) of two (2) to five (5) members, such as rock bands, chamber ensembles,
and choral groups.
· Musicians of all genres,
including—but not limited to-- classical, jazz, hip-hop/rap, rock/alt rock,
pop, indie, bluegrass, folk, country, R&B/blues, Latin, and World.
· Domestic Applicants: U.S.
citizens and legal residents of the U.S.; and International Applicants:
non-U.S. citizens, including citizens of other countries living in the U.S.
such as those on student visas.
*For ensembles to be eligible, at least one musician must
have a disability, and all members must be between the ages of 14-25.
Additional Competition Information
Performance and Attendance
The VSA International Young Soloists
performance will take place on Thursday, May 25, 2017 at 6 p.m. on the Kennedy
Center’s Millennium Stage. Winners of the competition must be present for
the entire event from Tuesday May 29 – Wednesday, May 30, 2018 and the
performance on May 30, 2018 at 6 p.m. to accept the award.
Selection Process and Adjudication
An advisory panel comprised of
distinguished international music professionals and educators will assist with
the three-tiered selection process.
VSA Affiliates and State Level Young
Many VSA affiliate
organizations across the United States implement their own Young Soloists
Competition programs at the state level. These are run independently and do not
preclude applicants from applying or competing at both the state and national
level. If you would like to compete at the national level you
MUST submit your application directly through this, the national site (www.kennedy-center.org/IYS).
Read our Frequently Asked Questions at www.kennedy-center.org/IYS .
Complete the online application form
to request application materials in a different format, email email@example.com.
a narrative statement (up to 250 words) in the provided text box or as an
audio or video clip. The narrative should include biographical information (i.e.
educational background, past solo or ensemble experience, musical goals) and
the reasons you feel you or your ensemble should be selected as a VSA International
Young Soloist winner.
media files of three (3) musical selections (audio or video).
o NOTE: If
you have difficulty uploading your media files, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please read the following
media file submission guidelines carefully:
o Before uploading
your files, please re-name them in the following format:
- IYS Submission 1
- IYS Submission 2
- IYS Submission 3
o Where indicated on the
application form, please list the title and composer of each submission.
o Video files are
suggested, but not required.
o Please note that while
the quality of your media submissions should be high, it is not necessary to
have your audio or video professionally recorded.
o Each uploaded file
should be a recording of one piece only (multiple movements for a piece can be
in one file).
o Each recording should
be 10 minutes or less in length.
o Please upload your
most proficient piece into Selection #1.
- Selected pieces should represent your current
musicianship and repertoire. Therefore recordings should be relatively
recent (no more than one year old).
- If chosen, winners will not be permitted to use
recorded music in their performance. Therefore, if you will be using
accompaniment on your recordings it must be live accompaniment.
- Applicants may only apply on one instrument. Even if
you are talented on multiple instruments, please pick the one on which
you feel you are most proficient and send us recordings showcasing that
- The application accepts files in the following
formats: Audio (MP3, MP4) and Video (WMV)
Application materials should be submitted no later than February 7,
2018 at 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time. We will receive your files
the day that you submit them, and you will receive a confirmation email within
24 hours of submitting your online application; please check your junk mail
folder for this email. If you have not received a confirmation email after 24
hours, please contact us directly at email@example.com or 202-416-8898.